Here’s a little something no one talks about…. strong “negative” feelings toward your partner.
Have you experienced anger, perhaps even rage, or some level of not liking your partner very much during some stages of pregnancy or postpartum? Well, I’m here to tell you that most of us have experienced it, but we don’t talk about it because we may think it’s “crazy” or “mean” or that something is wrong with us.
Strong Feelings During Pregnancy and Postpartum
I think it’s completely normal that, at some stage, we sometimes push away our partner. Women go through complete physical changes and mental preparedness for the unknown of having a new child, and on top of that – hormones.
There’s a disconnection while we experience so much physically. Our partner may not be on the same wavelength or rhythm that we’d like them to be. Though, there is usually a little more resonance by the second child (hehe)!
But Here’s Some Food for Thought…
First of all, I think that we start with having compassion for ourselves and understanding that those strong feelings are normal. It slows things down a little.
Second, men and women are different, and it’s meant to be that way! Women scientifically have changes in their brains and bodies, and it’s something that only we experience. It’s how nature is designed. It can feel a little lonely, but there’s beauty to that too.
Third, we have LOTS of hormones! Some hormones can make us tick, cry, laugh and cry at the same time, eat everything in sight, or touched out (meaning we can’t stand it if someone touches us). Hormones can even make some scents or people’s scents unbearable. Again, we need compassion. It happens, and it’s how nature was designed. Some of the hormones that are sometimes very much inconvenient are there to protect you and your baby and CREATE LIFE.
Additionally, it’s never easy to experience such a drastic change that EVERYONE can see while your partner seems to not have their life changed that much – but is that true? What if we changed our perspective a little?
Let’s Flip the Coin
New dads go through a lot too. Even though it may not seem as big of a “sacrifice” when we’re belly deep below the surface and our ankles are bigger than skyscrapers!
There’s truth in experiencing change that is difficult for your partner to fully connect when some of it is visual and textbook. They see you change and they hear about their friend’s life-changing, but they don’t experience it physically until later.
They’re also slowly mourning the “mothering” that they potentially had from you – you know the saying “men marry their mother”. Of course, this might not be true for most, but it’s a cute idea (for some). There is a reality that men have a tendency to need a little more attention, and a new child can change that experience. It’s a great reminder that while the dynamic changes, the love grows as they adapt to falling in love with their child.
They may go through concerns, lack of confidence, and fear of how to provide. From an innate perspective or even a financial one, and while that can go both ways, we have to have compassion for one another.
They may want to do all the things to “get it out of their system” while you’re cooking a baby. While it may seem unfair, it can be part of a legitimate process your partner has to go through – just as much as you need to nest and scrub the whole house down.
Understanding is Important
We may not understand our partner at times or feel understood ourselves. This is the start of a new life, new growth, new roles, new responsibilities, and new love…
Yes, it’s overwhelming!
Yes, it’s a lot!
Yes, it’s rocky to adapt!
Yes, it’s vulnerable!
Yes, it’s scary!
But one step at a time, gracefully adapting together is vital.
Here are a Few Tips to Help You Get Through These (Normal) Challenges
1. Talk About It
Communicate your feelings, your changes, and your needs. If you’re having trouble coming across, ask a mom, dad, or friend to chime in. Do a couple’s therapy. Go to prenatal yoga together. Go to childbirth classes together. Get involved together! Don’t be shy to express some not-so-cute details.
2. Share Information
I can’t stress this enough! Share articles, books, educational posts, blog posts – whatever comes across as beneficial to you. Share the knowledge, and don’t be the information gatekeeper! This will evolve in all aspects of parenting including sleep, baby growth, milestones, parenting styles, school, and the list goes on. Get used to sharing now because there’s a lot learning to do and UNLEARNING! Once we accept that concept and are willing to do the work, it’s not “work” anymore- it’s your most rewarding life experience!
3. Get Involved Together
Get the baby stuff together, go to a doctor’s appointment together, build and decorate together, and start to envision together!
4. Have Boundaries
Make sure to protect your heart and mind from a judgemental partner or crossing the line with criticism. We’re all learning but if there’s incredible resistance from an empathetic, perhaps there’s more self-work and relationship work to do.
5. Make Sure Dad Gets His Golden Hour
Golden hour is the first few minutes after birth when the baby is placed right on the mommy’s chest for as long as possible. It’s an incredible bonding moment, important for the mom’s and baby’s hormones, breastmilk, womb healing, and more. After the golden hour on mommy’s chest, it’s also very important for dad’s to experience this as they can get all the benefits and connections too!
6. Get Some Space and Rest
It is important to ask for help, be surrounded by positive people, eat nutritious meals, and rest mentally and physically when you can.
7. Everything Feels More Intense Than It Should
If everything is feeling intense, have a conversation with a therapist or friend, or seek naturopathy, acupuncture, or alternative approaches to help you through this time. Also, my blog post regarding postpartum depression can be helpful. It is also important to have a postpartum depression plan- similar to a birth plan- but knowing what to do, signs and red flags, and getting your partner on board to support you.
Thank You for Reading!
The Mommy Codes was inspired by a need to share my journey as a mother and help other mothers know that they are not alone. If you are struggling in your postpartum journey, please reach out and ask for help. You are welcome to read my blog posts about Dealing With Postpartum Depression and Learning About What Postpartum Is.
Additionally, read all about What I Would Do Differently During Pregnancy on my blog.